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Emine Bozkurt, Member of the European Parliament, officially received the first copy of the FIFPro Black Book Eastern Europe and expressed her appreciation for the research done by the FIFPro Task Force Eastern Europe.

 

‘I am extremely thankful to FIFPro that they came up with the Black Book’, said Bozkurt, Social Democrat Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur on sport for the Committee of Justice, Civil Liberties and Home Affairs.

 

‘This report confirms what I have said before that match fixing is a widespread phenomenon across Europe. This book shows that 6 members of the European Union and 3 candidate members of the EU are involved in match fixing. Combined with the recent problems in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and Turkey, we can conclude that half of the member countries of the EU are involved in match fixing. This is not a tiny problem, this is very serious.’

 

The FIFPro Black Book proves that there is a correlation between players who do not receive their salaries on time and match fixing. Bozkurt: ‘Players who do not get paid are more vulnerable to match fixing.’ The MEP emphasized that all governments and governing bodies, such as national and international football associations, have a very important role to play in this regard. ‘Everybody is crying, but no concrete measures have been taken. There are countries were match fixing is not even a crime.’

 

‘I would like to say to FIFA and UEFA, practice what you preach. A professional footballer is a worker and he is entitled to work in a safe environment.’

 

‘The players are heroes. Many children look up to them. Things like these, things like match fixing, should not happen to heroes.’ Bozkurt complimented Dragisa Pejovic, the Serbian footballer who was sitting just a few meters away from her, and who went through a very difficult period when he still was a professional footballer. He was subjected to blackmail, match fixing, violence and much more.

 

At the press conference Pejovic spoke about his experiences. Bozkurt: ‘We need more players to follow the example of Dragisa Pejovic. We need more players to tell what has happened to them. Dragisa Pejovic is a hero.’

 

‘I will continue to put this issue on the agenda. In the near future we are going to prepare new anticorruption legislation, and match fixing is a very important issue to include in that legislation.’